Elon’s missing ingredient: the human and political challenges of Tesla’s supply of Cobalt

In the Fall of 2017, as Tesla prepares its ambitious rollout of the Model 3, the reality of mass market electric vehicles (EVs) seems closer than ever. To tackle climate change –and pollution—many countries (e.g., France, UK, India, Norway, China) have adopted bans on fossil fuel cars in the coming decades1. Although these policies changes are promising for EVs, the sudden rush for the metals used in lithium-based batteries is, paradoxically, threatening the viability of Tesla’s supply chain and its dream to deliver a mass market EV car. The sourcing and supply of Cobalt –a crucial component of Tesla’s batteries—is a particular area of concern and could stop Elon's dream in its track.